Can I Fly Drone in Central Park? A Handy Guide


Are you planning on flying a drone in central park?

Before you take off, it’s important to know whether or not it’s legal to do so. The rules and regulations regarding drone flight can vary depending on the location, so it’s important to do your research beforehand.

In this article, I’ll answer the question: can you fly a drone in central park?

In short, the answer is NO! You cannot fly drones in central park due to safety and security concerns.

The laws around drone flight can be complex. So, I’ll also let you know about FAA regulations, security concerns, permissions needed, and penalties (if any) so that you’re fully informed.

Can I Fly Drone in Central Park

FAA Regulations on Flying Drones in Central Park

Due to the following FAA regulations, you are not allowed to fly drones in central park:

  1. New York City Administrative Code §10-126 prohibits drone pilots from operating a drone (including taking off or landing) in any place within the city limits, other than designated landing areas.
  2. Central Park is not a permitted place of landing according to the New York City Administrative Code.
  3. New York City’s City Restriction makes it illegal to fly a drone in the city, which includes Central Park.
  4. New York City Park Rule 1-05(r)(2) states that no person shall engage in any toy or model aviation, including drone activities, except at designated times and places. Violation of this rule constitutes a misdemeanor.


Security Concerns

Flying a drone in central park comes with its own set of unique security concerns, which are worth considering before launching your drone. Here are some potential security concerns to keep in mind.

Security Concerns for Flying Drones in Central Park

  1. Privacy Invasion: Drones equipped with cameras can capture personal moments of park visitors, potentially infringing on their privacy.
  2. Public Safety: Inexperienced pilots may lose control or crash drones, causing potential injuries or property damage in crowded areas.
  3. Air Traffic Interference: Drones flying at higher altitudes may disrupt air traffic or interfere with low-flying helicopters.
  4. Wildlife Disturbances: The noise and presence of drones can potentially disturb local wildlife in Central Park, disrupting natural behavior and habitats.
  5. Illegal Activities: Drones can be used for spying or conducting illicit activities, posing threats to both individuals and public spaces.

Permissions and Permits

Flying drones in Central Park is not allowed. The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation has a strict policy prohibiting the use of drones within any public park, including Central Park. This is due to safety concerns, privacy issues, and potential disturbances to wildlife and park visitors. There are no permits or permissions available that would allow drone operations within the park.

It’s essential to find alternative locations outside of public parks for recreational drone use, while also adhering to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines and regulations.

Penalties for Flying a Drone without Authorization

Unauthorized drone usage can result in fines and/or confiscation of the device. Penalties for flying drones without authorization in Central Park may include civil penalties up to $1,000 for a first-time offense and criminal penalties up to $5,000 or imprisonment for up to three months. These consequences serve to protect the safety and privacy of park visitors and prevent potential damage to the park’s environment and wildlife.

Also check:


1. Can I Fly Drones in Central Park if I am not a Licensed Drone Pilot?

No, you cannot fly a drone in Central Park if you are not a licensed drone pilot. Central Park is a no-fly zone for drones, and flying without a proper license is prohibited due to safety and privacy concerns. Drone use in the park can also disturb wildlife and negatively impact the experience of other visitors. Always ensure you are aware of the rules and regulations regarding drone usage in any public space to avoid any legal repercussions.

2. Who can Authorize the Use of Drones in Central Park?

The use of drones in Central Park falls under the jurisdiction of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. To obtain authorization for flying a drone in Central Park, you would need to contact the Department of Parks & Recreation and adhere to their rules and regulations, which may include obtaining relevant permits and following safety guidelines. However, it is important to note that currently, the use of drones and other remote-controlled aircraft is prohibited within the boundaries of Central Park and other NYC parks.

3. Can the Police Fly Drones in Central Park?

Yes, the police can fly drones in Central Park, as law enforcement agencies have special permissions to operate drones for various purposes such as surveillance, public safety, or search and rescue operations. However, they must comply with specific guidelines and regulations set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and local authorities to ensure safe and responsible drone usage.


In conclusion, before flying a drone in central park, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the appropriate resources and tools. Download the B4UFLY mobile app to easily find safe and legal flying locations.

Drone laws are subject to change, and information in this blog may become outdated; always consult official sources for the latest regulations.

And if you have a related query, kindly feel free to let me know in the comments.

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Peter Karanja is a licensed drone pilot from Kenya, freelance writer and drone enthusiast. He has been using drones for land survey, GIS, and photography for the past three years. Being a drone user, he loves writing about drone applications, safety tips for using drones, and the best ways to get the most out of a drone.

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